Book Recommendation

God and Gay Christian

Many conservative Christians want to be loving toward their gay neighbor but struggle to be affirming because of their understanding of scripture. In this book, Matthew Vines, an Evangelical gay man, draws on recent biblical scholarship to make a strong case that one can hold a high view of the authority of scripture and also affirm gay marriage in the church. While my understanding of scripture is not as conservative as Vines’, this book is very well written. In addition to clear, research based arguments, Vines also shares moving personal stories. And he doesn’t just cover the six verses in the Bible that specifically address homosexuality but also explores the biblical concept of marriage as a sanctifying covenant, the spiritual gift of celibacy, and the importance of reason, tradition, and experience when interpreting the Bible for today. If you are a conservative Christian that wrestles with the issue of homosexuality, I highly recommend this book.

Surfers Helping Kids (El Salvador)

Hey Everyone!

I am going to Mizata, El Salvador in March for a surf trip. The group that I’m traveling with would like to help some of the impoverished kids in the area while we are there. I’ve been working with a guy named Renato with the Christian Surfers of El Salvador to determine needed items and how to get them into the hands of the kids who need them the most.

Items Needed:

  • Dental hygiene items for kids (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc.)
  • Children’s vitamins
  • Crayons and coloring books that teach numbers and letters in Spanish
  • Small toys
  • Monetary donations to pay for transporting the items

If you would like to help, the deadline for donations is February 5, 2017. You can drop items off or mail them to First UMC Cocoa Beach; 3300 N. Atlantic Ave.; Cocoa Beach, FL 32931.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV8n9Me_LZI.

Feel free to email me any questions or post comments to this blog entry.

We will meet and play with some of the kids while we are there, and I’ll be posting pictures upon my return.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Pastor Mark

I’m Still Alive!

Hello Everyone!

Several people have asked why I haven’t written anything on my blog over the last few months. I just wanted to let you know that I was reappointed by the Bishop to a new church on July 1st, moving from Shepherd’s Community UMC in Lakeland, FL to First UMC Cocoa Beach, FL. Moving into a new community and starting a new church comes with many challenges and lots of busyness (especially in the first 90 days). In the transition, I have simply not had time to write. On a positive note, as a surfer who just moved to the east coast, I am enjoying lots of time in the water!

I have several ideas and will start writing again soon. I am currently working on a series of practical articles on how to lead turn-around churches that are in rapid decline. This is a big project that might issue in a book, but you will get the rough ideas before everyone else through this blog. I am also working on a short piece that focuses on how to have accountability conversations with staff and laity in the church.

Thanks for your continued support as my entire family resettles. I also ask you to pray for us as we patiently seek a new vision from God in this new season of life and ministry.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark